8 Charity Walking Events That Give Your Steps Extra Meaning

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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8 Charity Walking Events That Give Your Steps Extra Meaning

Walking events can be a great way to give yourself a goal and provide motivation for maintaining a regular exercise routine. As an added bonus, you can also fundraise for a local or national charity so your steps mean even more.

Here are eight great charity walks that offer the perfect opportunity to get in shape while supporting a great cause:

1. AIDS WALK
Dates vary by city | Multiple cities

This walkathon fundraiser helps combat the AIDS epidemic by providing services and advocacy for local community residents infected by HIV. The event distance varies by city, ranging from a 5–10K, with many opting for team-inspired events to get churches, schools and corporations involved. This walk in Phoenix has a $300K goal each year and puts on a lively event with five stages of music for participants to enjoy once the charity 5K is complete.

2. LIGHT THE NIGHT WALKS
Dates vary by city | Multiple cities

With more than 200 locations in the U.S., this event aims to raise funds and awareness for those diagnosed with Leukemia and Lymphoma. Each of the events takes place at night, with survivors of the disease carrying white lanterns, supporters carrying red lanterns and those walking for the memory of a loved one holding gold lanterns. Walk distances vary according to the city, but are usually around 5K or shorter.

3. RELAY FOR LIFE
Dates vary by city | Multiple cities

Organized by the American Cancer Society, this fundraising event has relay team members take turns walking around a track or other designated path nonstop for 6–24 hours. If that sounds like a challenge, it’s supposed to be, as the race is meant to symbolize cancer never sleeps, and those affected by cancer can’t quit just because they’re tired. The comradery of this event helps keep participants going, as the upbeat atmosphere and support from others pushes your body and spirit to continue moving forward.

4. THE HEART WALK
Dates vary by city | Multiple cities

The number 1 killer in the U.S. is heart disease, and this walk put on by the American Heart Association has a mission to save as many lives as possible. The event takes place in more than 300 cities across the U.S., with more than 1 million participants taking the streets to show their support. Survivors are a big part of the event, and encouraged to don a red cap. Corporations, families and friends are encouraged to set up teams and tackle this mission together.

5. THE JIMMY FUND WALK
September 22, 2019 | Boston

One of the largest charity walks in the world, the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk had more than 8,000 participants in 2018 and has raised $8.5 million to help fight cancer. The walk covers the same course as the iconic Boston Marathon, though participants can also choose shorter routes, which include a 5K, 10K and half-marathon in addition to the full 26.2. The site has tips to get involved and offers creative ways to raise funds to support those in need.

6. THE PURPLESTRIDE
Dates vary by city | Multiple cities

Known as one of the world’s toughest cancers, pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of just 9%. This team walk organized by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) helps attack the disease through research, clinical initiatives, patient services and advocacy. The event takes place in nearly every major city and includes a 5K that’s suitable for the whole family.

7. WALK MS
Dates vary by city | Multiple cities

One of the largest fundraising walks in the world, this event for multiple sclerosis has more than 300,000 participants and volunteers annually and has generated $1 billion in funds to support those currently living with the disease. Teams or individuals may sign up, and routes range from 1–3 miles.

8. WALKS FOR WISHES
Dates vary by city | Multiple cities

Children with life-threatening diseases and disabilities are supported by this walk, with funds going to grant wishes that often have a life-changing impact. The family-friendly event usually ranges from a mile to a 5K and is powered largely by donations from individuals, companies and local organizations. All totaled, the event provides more than 300,000 wishes for kids each year.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.

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